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5 Best Restaurants in Cville.

Now that I’ve got your attention…

So, there was quite the lively discussion on the edible cville… Facebook page over the weekend. Virtual food fight if you will. And it all started because while surfing the Interwebs I came across a website calling itself the “5 Best Restaurants in Charlottesville.”

Huh? According to who? Hey, no worries mate, I love a healthy dose of competition, and restaurant reviewing is a wide-open field ‘round these parts so I kept reading. And immediately disagreed. The authors of this site listed the Top 5 as:

Fossett’s
Clifton Inn
Brookville Restaurant
L’étoile
Horse and Hound Gastropub

Now “Top 5” anything is a volatile topic in Charlottesville akin to discussing religion, politics, dredging, and McIntyre Park. So of course there were comments, disagreements and people curious to know exactly who was behind it all.

Turns out it’s a marketing firm. Which immediately brought a bad taste to my mouth. Does this mean any tourist visiting Charlottesville (of which we have more than a few) who plugs “5 best restaurants” into a search engine will find this site first? Is that fair?

Is anything “fair” in the restaurant biz? But what about the other 195 or so? An arbitrary number for those of us who believe Cville has on or about 200 restaurants on any given day. Aren’t they any good? Don’t they deserve a chance? Isn’t the “Top 5” of anything such a subjective thing?

But look at it another way. If you live in a hamlet with a huge university attached, with more than 200 restaurants to choose from, a place where your customer base drops rapidly twice a year, wouldn’t you want to give yourself a leg up? Things that make you go hmmm……

So while I don’t agree with the Top 5 (and it’s too early in the year to make me commit to my own Top 5 and you can’t make me) at the same time I have to give them props for ingenuity. In a competitive market like ours, you’ve probably got to come at people from every angle. Not just print ads, but social media, podcasts, websites. Hit up not just the locals, but folks who might stop by Monticello this summer on a weekend visit and want a great place to eat.

I’m not saying I LIKE it mind you. It’s misleading. I also think anyone with half a critical eye could see the marketing ploy at work. I’m just saying in our food environment it could be considered a smart business strategy. What do you think? What’s your Top 5?

One Comment Post a comment
  1. My top 5 in order with #1 being my favorite restaurant in Cville:1. Revolutionary Soup2. ZoCaLo3. Hamilton's at First & Main4. C&O5. Fleurie

    March 29, 2011

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